Incubation Period, Common Sense or High Medical Science 潛伏期,是普通常識還是高等醫藥科學

Many deceases have so called incubation periods.  For instance, Flu may become obvious after 1 to 3 days after one “get it” from some other kids. For measles, it is 10 to 12 days. (There are even incubation period charts for various diseases. See, for instance:

The recent infamous example is the 21 day incubation period of ebola: if one comes back from East Africa, he/she is not supposed to contact anyone within 21 days.  After 21 days, if he/she has not developed symptom, it is safe.

Why 21 days? Do you think when the Ebola virus gets into a body they will form a committee, call for a convention, start a bootcamp, train for a frontal assault. No, don’t be silly, of course not. It is actually rather simple, if you think of it logically. Say, one or a few viruses (whatever the plural of the word, virus, is) entered into a person’s body. There are so few of them they cannot possible cause any problems. A few hours (the life cycle of this specific kind of virus) later, each got enough nutrients and splits into two. Two of their life-cycles later they became four fold.  N- of their life cycles later, the number became 2 to the Nth power times as the original. Suppose the life cycle is 6 hours. Two days later, their 8 life cycles later, each became 2 to the 8th, that is, 256. Well, two or three hundreds of those little buggers in a persons blood stream really would  not do much harm.  What is scary is the exponential increase of numbers. 10 days later, the number would be 2 to the 40th, or about 10 to the 12th, that is a 1 followed by 12 zeros, something not to be ignored. If this is the “critical mass” for this kind of virus, symptom will start to show.

Each kind of virus has its own life cycle and its own critical mass at which it will cause the person to show symptom. For Measles it is 10 days and for Ebola it is 21 days.  After you think logically, all seems to have a clear explanation.  However, what is so good if we can explain.  An incubation period is still an incubation period, no matter if the virus have a dance party or a splitting growth?  Yes, there IS an advantage if we understand what is happening. Consider this: half way in the incubation period, say, the tenth day of contracting ebola, there should be enough virus in the blood stream for sensitive medical tests to detect their existence. That means that people do not have to blindly wait for 21 days to see if one is to die or is to be release to normal life. Early detection means early treatment which may safe lives. Those doctors and nurses who volunteered to work in the ebola infected area could be monitored and tested early in the quarantined period to be treated if necessary and avoid unnecessary sacrifices.

Well, the question is how do I send this writing to the appropriate people to draw attention.  I have no Medical degree, no way to send to any medical journals.  So, you medical related people, researchers, doctors … go take this idea and run.  I don’t care if you take the fame or profit, so long you can spread the word and find a way to save lives.

(I cannot believe no one else has thought about the same.  I wonder if anything is done towards research and “save lives.”)


很多種病都有他們自己的潛伏期,也就是說染病之後要過多少時候才會發出來。 比如說流行性感冒是一或者兩天。 麻疹是十天。

最近很出名的例子是Ebola的二十一天。 也就是說從東非回來的人要被關二十一天才能決定這個人是不是傳染了病。

為什麼二十一天呢。 難道這些病菌到了身體裡邊要開個會,商量商量看,大家跳跳舞,受個訓練,然後才正式讓你生病嗎? 別胡說,當然不是了。

其實很簡單。你只要好好的動動腦筋,仔細想想看, 就會很明白。 比如說,有幾個細菌或者病毒到了一個人的身體裡面。  數目很小當然不能生事。 幾個鐘頭以後( 因各種病毒不同而不同) 每一個一分為二。 第二個時期以後又二分為四。 比如說這種病毒是每六小時一分, 那麽說兩天以後也就是說八個生長期以後 就分成了 二的八次方, 也就是256 倍。 一兩百個病毒在血液那邊也造不成什麼大事。 可是最可怕的就是 這個數目以指數為增加的倍數。 譬如說十天以後。 也就是四十個 分裂期以後 就增加了 二的四十次方倍, 差不多十的十二次方倍 也就是”1“後面有十二個零(0), 一個相當大的數字了。 對於這種病來說也許就是發病的時期了。

各種病毒分裂的速度快慢不一。  使人發病的數目大小也不一樣。 所以潛伏期也不一樣。

你會問我,就算懂了潛伏期的原因又有什麼作用呢? 就算知道了病毒要花二十一天才能夠分裂到使人發病的程度, 或者說病毒要開二十一天的會, 睡二十一天才使人發病。二十一天究竟還是二十一天,又有什麼分別呢? 我說這是很重要的。 要是我們知道了這個原因, 我們就會知道在潛伏期一半的時候就應該有 相當多的病毒。 要是我們 的醫葯儀器好,就應該可以測出來了。 這樣的話就用不著瞎等二十一天才決定是生還是死。 再說 那些自己志願去非洲的人回來以後 就可以 早做測驗,也用不著冒犧牲的危險了。

可惜我不是醫葯界人士,沒法把以上的見解在醫葯雜誌上發表。 希望如果有醫葯界人士 看到這篇文章 就請自己去做研究,解救病苦。